Developing leaders is critical to the growth of any organization. John Maxwell states that developing followers adds growth, and developing leaders multiplies growth. Many organizations today are investing in outside resources to come into their companies and train their people in leadership, but far too many organizations do not go far enough to make that training as effective as it can be.
The population being trained in most organizations is mostly middle management or leaders; those people who are normally top performers, newly promoted, and determined to have great potential. Again, investing in growing and developing your people is a worthy investment, and those people are learning all the right ways to become stronger, more effective leaders, but when they leave training and look to the leaders they report to, they find that the principles they just learned are missing in their leaders.
Too Many Top Level Leaders Believe They Are An Exception
Where organizations are missing the boat in regards to developing their leaders, is that the top level leaders (those sitting in the higher leadership roles and positions) are not practicing the leadership principles they are asking their people to learn and develop. Too many leaders of companies and organizations believe that their position, by default, validates that they know everything there is to know about leadership.
The principles the middle leaders of the organization have just learned and are living by, are not the same principles the executives are operating or living by. This is not good for morale, nor is it good for achieving strategic objectives. Instead of closing the gap between top level leaders and middle level leaders, there is an increased risk of widening that gap, and missing out on growth opportunities.
Side Note: In today's business world, position, responsibilities, size of operating budget, and number of people reporting to someone are the FALSE measurements of leadership. (I write FALSE, because that is what it is. You can have all those things, but if you cannot inspire people, influence people, or add value to people, you are not leading, you are, at best, managing.)
Set The Example
When any organization engages in developing leaders, there must be an alignment from the top down in regards to the principles being taught and practiced. In other words, top level leaders need to take part in the curriculum being taught, and also demonstrate, through their decisions and actions, that they practice the principles being taught. If you like the curriculum enough to buy it, you should like it enough to par take in what it is offering, and demonstrate the value you see in it. It is also a huge opportunity to connect with your people, build morale, and establish a common organizational language around leadership. Most importantly, you are leading by example, not by exception.
If you are going to hire a third party to train your people in leadership, make sure you are willing to learn the principles they will teach your people. Make sure the entire organization is aligned with those principles. Sound leadership principles do not change as you climb in ranks. They are transparent for all levels of leadership. If you want to grow your company or organization, make sure there is alignment in this department. Because alignment in regards to leadership principles, enables alignment in achieving strategic growth objectives.
Do this and buckle up, because your growth will be about to explode.
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